I’m So Happy

It is challenging to keep coming up with things to write about having to do with religion and one of the thousands of gods I doubt. But once or twice each month some smatchet* fool just hands me a beer and says, “Now, watch this.” How do they do it? It’s pure fooking magic, I’m a-tellin’ y’all. Wham! No muse required.

I simply open a news link on my computer for a bit of depressing now what. And there it is in all that radiant reading glory. The reason why so many of us will take a royal pass on jumping into the Christian corral (or is it chorale?).

Some Pentecostal pinhead preacher in the far east parts of Nashville was literally told, directed, and commanded by none other than the main God himself, personally spoken in English, to cancel a bogus communion thingy and instead have a good old-fashioned book burning. Just like mort old Grandpa Adolph used to do, only this holocaust called specifically for some young adult fiction. It appears that God wanted to mess Satan over with a Harry Potter hot foot, of all things.

Preacher Pinhead claimed his followers had a “biblical right” (well hell yes. God told them to do it) to burn cultish books (as I clear my throat and raise both brows) and such, which they deem as threatening to their religious rights and freedoms. Yep. There ya have it, that ever-loving godly dude who gave his only son, etc.

Videos show a bonfire and people tossing books and other papers into the blaze. Praise god almighty!!! No more gall dang witchery from that ‘Hairy Pooter’ and his kind.

To be fair, no real news here. Harry Potter books were burned when first released. Other members of this panicked sleazeball-slime branch of Christianity, with similar religious loons claim such things encourage witchcraft.

I called J.K. Rowling. She said that she is heartbroken that her publisher will now have to print (and sell) more books to replace those burned. Wink, wink.

Why did this guy do this? This book burning party wasn’t the first time Dudly Dumbass made headlines. He’s denied the entire pandemic (clearly, he’s not an undertaker on the side), he preached that the Tennessee Governor, Bill Lee, was a “coward” for activating the National Guard to help hospitals battle it, and he is full of Trump-related BS conspiracy theories. He and his followers are also full of dangerous buzzard bait and swallowing every bit of it.

But look what I got. Blogger fodder as this snarkastic atheist points and laughs; and all the other Christians yell, “He’s not one of us.” I heard that same yell when Planned Parenthood medical clinics were bombed and killed people. Yes. He is exactly one of you!

And as for burning, here’s what else he said, “I ain’t messing with witches no more. I ain’t messing with witchcraft…I ain’t messing with demons.”

Should I send him a thank you letter?


P.S. *English contains an embarrassment of riches for when we want to say something colorful about someone. A contemptible person may be a blighter, cockloche, dandiprat, dirtbag, dogbolt, shagrag, stinkard bastard, beast, bleeder, blighter, bounder, or boor. They may be a bugger, buzzard, cad, chuff, churl, clown, creep, cretin, crud, crumb, or cur. Also, a dirty dog, rat fink, heel, hound, jerk, joker, louse, lout, pill, pinhead, rat, reptile, rotter, or a Yiddish schmuck; some are scum or scumbags, scuzzballs, or skunks. Anyone can be a sleaze, sleazebag, sleazeball, slime, slimeball, slob, snake, or a plain old so-and-so. Brits can also be sods, stinkards, stinkers, swine, toads, varmints, or any of various vermin. So why do we need smatchet? Just because there be so many contemptible people out there.


No kidding. Harry freaking Potter.



What Matters More?

I am far from being an expert on the workings of the LDS religion, church, cult, or whatever it is. A friend told me about his father who was a convert to Mormonism. Apparently, if one is a good LDS, God will grant an enlightenment at some point. I have no idea what that is, but it sounds like speaking in tongues for some other denominations.

Anyway, my friend told me that his father went to an LDS bishop late in life to complain about either God or the Mormon religion not delivering on the promised epiphany. The bishop apparently then confessed that not everyone gets it. I’m unclear on the details, but I suspect a deconversion. My friend’s dad died shortly thereafter. So, then what?

One person commented on this blog that I must confess my belief in God before it is “too late.” The too late being when I am already dead, and God (who is love, who is forgiving, who sort of died for our sins) punishes my soul with Hell for eternity because I would not, could not, or did not believe that he, or she, or it was real. That commentator was trying to tell me what much of Christianity teaches. Goodness does not matter. Belief is all that counts. It sounds crazy and stupid, but the Bible backs them up on this.

Bottom line, if you do not believe in any god, or if you have serious doubts, you are doomed for eternity, according to the “good book.” That’s the theory, anyway. Nothing else in your life matters. In fact, you can be a lying scum bag, a murderer, a rapist, or all of these, and still be forgiven and spend eternity in Heaven, provided you claim that you think God is real (i.e., profess belief). This makes sense to millions of people. But not to all of us.

In her memoir, Anne Rice raved about her Secular Humanist friends and how wonderful and kind and caring and what good people they were. How they do all these wonderful things for others. Many are, of course, people who do not hold much belief (or faith) in any god. Anne was at times a very devout Catholic. In that Christian denomination, belief was taken for granted. But it was (and still is) how you live and treat others that matters most. For them, ass holes burn regardless of belief status.

I sat face-to-face in a confessional one day. The Priest said, “God does not care about all that, Bill. What He cares about is how we treat one another.” Two other Priests told me essentially the same thing.

No matter what I believe about the existence of any god, I am convinced that how we treat each other is paramount. Therefore, if I treat my fellow man, nature, and the environment (God’s creation?) as well as I can, I’ll bet God would give me the same break he would give Anne or any of her wonderful friends. As for the Christian jerks, if there is a god, I have my opinion.

Happy Friday,


Argumentative Essay: Why Fewer Christians?

You may know this. Nan posted about it. The trend is for fewer people to raise their hand when I ask, how many of you are Christians? It’s been going that way for years.

Twelve years ago, I would have reluctantly raised my hand. I preferred to say I was Irish-Catholic rather than Christian, even though there is no such thing. Officially, it’s Roman Catholic, but I am not even a little bit Italian, so says my ancestry spittle.

PEW Research keeps up with this stuff. They take polls and ask, what are you? For more than ten years, fewer people have been saying they are Christians. If that trend continues, folks claiming to be Christian will soon be the overall minority.

That has already happened with the younger crowd. PEW claims no rapid rise in the number of atheists in the USA, although we are growing too, albeit slowly. PEW says it’s now 4% of all, up from 2%. If every atheist was willing to come out, it would be more.

It’s the nones who are kicking ass. In the real world, if you say I’m an atheist, things can go badly for you lickety-split. However, being wishy-washy is a good way to cover your butt. Yet, folks are crossing a line by saying, nope, not a Christian. PEW does not tell us why this is happening.

So, why is it that fewer people claim to be Christians? Are they decamping for reasons, or just getting lazy? Most are not queuing up for atheism. These are mostly nones disowning the label of Christian.

For example, years back I had a bit of an email tiff with a guy from church. I considered him a jerk, but that’s not the point. He wrote, “I do not see how a practicing Catholic can support…” (abortion, I think). He was calling me out for being a liberal Democrat Catholic. I told him that I no longer considered myself Catholic, practicing or otherwise.

I did not say I was agnostic, atheist, or Methodist. It was the first time in my life that I disowned the religion of my birth (which is why I can relate to the struggles of people like Anne Rice). I was thinking and embracing none-hood. I was trying to figure it all out, which is what I think many nones are also doing. They’re searching for answers.

A former Christian (Jew or Muslim) did not wake up on some random sabbath and decide they will no longer be that religion. It’s a process; often a long, difficult, and reluctant one.

So why the Christian exodus to being a none? I would like to propose nine reasons for why it has been happening, and one reason why some stay.

Politics (sort of). Anne Rice went from being raised Catholic, to agnostic, back to Catholic, then bailed to a “faith in God,” then to not Christian (a none), then to secular humanist. Some call what she cites for her reasons as social issues, but I see it as the cognitive dissonance suffered by many progressive believers.

Many Christian writers, pastors, and even the Catholic Church point to the right-wing politics of evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics, and other extremely politically conservative religious folk as the reason many Christians are taking a hike.

Freedom from Religion. Let’s say you’re opposed to abortion but support a woman’s right to choose. Let’s say you are politically progressive, liberal, but believe in both God and Climate Change. Let’s say you do not take biblical scripture literally, you are opposed to capital punishment, and you care about the environment.

Religion, especially when it is authoritarian, is burdensome. Sometimes, it limits what many see as their freedom (freedom of thought). I’ve been told, “You don’t have to go to church to be a good Christian.” I get that, but you also don’t have to say you are of any religion to follow the teachings of Christ, Buddha, Mohamed, or Wicca. Freedom from religion is a different kind of freedom of religion, and in my opinion it’s more freeing.

Christian examples. Let’s name some names. While I doubt if many people leave Christianity because of the likes of Falwell, Robertson, or Peter Popoff and his miracle water; or due to the many, MANY scandals, those things people probably do not entice Christian encampment.

Morality of the heart. While this relates back to politics; blocking human rights, equal rights, women’s rights; demeaning the value of science and medicine and environmental protections; combined with the myriad of phobias purported within modern religions of all flavors are seen as immoral, and thus are seen as incongruent with being a good moral human being.

The no true Scotsman fallacy, or we shall bully or cajole you into it. Leverage is being used when people are told that they are not a “true” Christian (or Catholic). If they do not believe or practice as directed, the pressure to cooperate may help drive folks away. While this is far from unique to the Christian religion, it is divisive. I think few people would abandon church because of this, but they certainly will change churches or parishes. It is another reason to step back.

To be fair, this is a pain in the ass for any group, even atheists. Many of us deplore the insulting, overaggressive, know-it-alls who seem to think that behaving like an ass will result in folks seeing the truth.

The rise of doubt. The interesting thing about doubt (in religion of gods) is that it can be free of emotion or bogged down by it. Most believers seem to have minor, early reservations. Later, with more advanced uncertainties, folks may verbalize their concerns. These doubts often lead to action. They may read things like the Bible or spiritual writings; they may listen a little closer. They begin to realize things. These middle doubts have no time limit. Some people may doubt no further.

As doubt and questioning grows, ignorance diminishes. As more skeptics have come forward and the social acceptability of having no religion has grown, more people are willing to tell the truth about it all.

Technology. It’s easy to get data, it’s hard to make sense of it. For example, in my county I’ve read that 60% are nones. Most believers here are Evangelical Protestant, which is something of a denominational, holy-roller hodge-podge. The second largest Christian denomination is Catholic. One source said 40% are religious, thus, 60% are not. That is a lot of nones.

However, the data is there. I like PEW Research as a source. In minutes I have more information than I’ve ever wanted concerning religious demographics. That is my point. Technology allows us all access to tons of information, some true, much of it is not. But it’s all there. The information technology boom probably contributes to knowledge and to people making decisions. In combination with other things, it easily sends anti-religion torpedoes below the religious water lines.

Outspoken nones. Like it or not, we are affected by what other people say, do, and think. Anti-religion and anti-theist sentiment is everywhere—even between denominations. As people become more outspoken about their lack of religious participation, not naming a religion, or withholding any answer; others on the fence will often come down outside of religion. Why not? It’s important to remember that people get tired of the nonsense long before they decide to walk away.

What they miss most is the social aspects of church. While this is not exactly a reason for people to leave, it may be the only reason to stay. They call it fellowship. It is a bonding, it is nice (usually), people enjoy it (their tribe), and when they bail out it is what they usually miss most (I did not). This tells me that often, religious participation is based on issues other than the purported tenants of a religion. Religion often survives because going to church is a social club.

It keeps getting easier to just say no. People do get very involved with their church. Some also with the idea of Christianity, at least as they understand it. For many, it is a heaven or hell thing, but for others that is far from the point of their religion. I don’t know if many of them are among the nones of the past ten years.

What I do know is that social and economic pressures to go to church, to say one is this religion or that, to even be a culturally religious person is reducing each year. If someone wants religion, church, or Christianity (of some flavor), it will always be there for them. But if they would prefer either “no preference” or “none” embossed on their dog tags, it’s easy enough to do.

Obviously, many of the people leaving church and religion are skeptics or closeted atheists. But I’m inclined to think they are mostly just tired of the bull shit.


Prayer Requests

I noticed this box of cards as I walked past the church down the street. It was a box of 4×8 inch prayer request cards. I took one, just in case. If I want the people at the church to pray for me, I must take a card, fill it out with name, address, phone, what I want them to pray for (or to praise). I must also check either confidential or ok to publish. Publish? Then I must slide the card into the slot to be picked up by the help.

I’m not sure why they do this, but I like it. I once heard a retired preacher of the Calvinist tradition say that prayer is more effective if the person praying has greater faith. They know stuff like that. Maybe when more people pray, it works better. Maybe when people in an interdenominational church pray, it’s better because one of the denominations may be the right one.

I remember when a thousand people filled our Catholic church to pray for a well-liked, dying old lady. She got well. They were taking credit like crazy. Then she died. Oops. But death has never stopped Catholics from praying for the repose of the soul of a deceased. It’s part of the denomination.

What I like about this is if people want to be prayed for, they can ask. Otherwise, no prayers. If I want to be prayed for, or to offer praise in my name, I’ll let them know. Otherwise, they may assume I can do my own praying. Or, assume I do not want or need to be prayed for. Or, assume I’d rather they did something else.

It’s like asking, “Would you like us to pray for you?” Nope. And if I change my mind, I know where I can stick the request card. I feel so enlightened. Amen.


Angry Atheists

I’m not chronically angry. I am quite concerned about things politically, and I can be upset, even threatened by it all. However, just because I embrace my personal atheism, I’m not on mad autopilot.

I find the lies, deceptions, human rights violations, and self-righteousness of religions and religious people annoying, if not downright evil. Many believers agree with me. It has nothing to do with my atheism which is more about existence than religion.

Let me start with Greta Christina’s book, Why Are You Atheists So Angry? 90 Things That Piss Off the Godless. It’s a must read for those of us on the skeptical side of things. I think it is also a should read for every believer who writes, speaks, or thinks the word atheist. Greata is hardcore, but she politely makes a ton of excellent points regarding anger. Some of the things she mentions barely phase me, yet I agree with her.

Anger is a normal human emotion. I know what it is. I cannot honestly say that I have been angry because I am atheist or because I doubt if there is a god. But strangely, some people assume that emotion, if I question anything religious or spiritual.

For example, I participated in an online group regarding cancer, its treatment, and  advice was sought for families and patients. People shared their situation, either as a cancer patient or as a family member. “Thoughts and prayers” were often solicited and offered. Good for them. I expect that. One time I responded to an atheist who asked if anyone else “here” was also a skeptic. I told him that he was not alone. I understand why he asked.

However, there was one long, biblical, proselytizing, graphic, and very Christian posting. I commented that I was unaware of the religious nature of the group’s page. I was not offended or angry. Yet, many respondents seemed to think I was.

The post was unusual and over the top for me. Unfortunately, group admins were unable to let go of the issue. They even invited me to say what I thought. I respectfully declined and left the group. No harm, no foul. The stated purpose of the group was to focus on cancer treatment. If it did not, I must excuse myself. But I never felt the least bit of anger, nor was I offended.

I’m offended, as in my feelings may be hurt, when people assume I am less moral or evil because I doubt their god exists. Or worse, I say their religion and god are man-made. I am offended when a U.S. President implies atheists are not American citizens. But these things would offend most people.

It is just name-calling, but it is also dangerous. I am offended when I read hateful sputum produced by so-called religious people regarding people who think differently. However, I don’t walk around angry because of it.

And yes, there are angry rants and raves by pissed off people. I titled this blog “Dispassionate Doubt” for a reason.


What is a god? Any god. Who is it?

I Googled ‘God.’ I got about 2.16 billion hits. Wow. The answer must be there. Right?

One was from a Christian religious site. Everything they claimed about God was supported with biblical citation by chapter and verse, of course. But there were two important exceptions.

First, the article claimed it’s obvious: “God’s existence is so conspicuous….” So, everyone should know. Second, it championed God by further claiming that “creation,” or existence, and human consciousness make God manifest. The writer did not answer what, or who is any god. But they continued to try.

The rest of the post made interesting claims. Such as, they said if you don’t get God right, that is idolatry, which is a sin (Pardonne-moi s’il te plaît). “God is spirit, by nature intangible.” No help there. But then they said, “We know certain things to be true of God…” Then they quoted more scripture. Why? Because all we “know” of that God are unsupported, written claims from thousands of years ago.

The piece also identified characteristics of God. Those are loving, truthful, holy, compassionate, merciful, graceful, judgmental, and forgiving. All human traits, yet again based on scripture because that’s all they have. Still not much to help with what or who a god is.

If we return to the it’s conspicuous and human consciousness claims, which make God obvious, there are problems. Nature, a certain creation of God’s, is obviously random and destructive. Additionally, God’s humans are incredibly destructive toward each other and to nature. Enter The Problem of Evil.

There is also the fact that no one is born knowing anything about any god. We are taught about God by others. God must be learned. How is that obvious, intuitive, or rising from human consciousness? And why not? Many less important things such as breathing, swallowing, our beating hearts, and more are there from day one or before.

A God, or higher power, is whatever we say it is or want it to be. We create gods and always have. That need may be a human trait. But so is thinking. A tree, nature, rain, an animal, something living in a volcano or in the sea may be a god because we say so. Personally, I like the Sun as a god. Planets named after gods and goddesses are all ready to step in for us. And what about goddesses? We’ve had Luna, Phoebe, Athena, Aurora, Flora, Freya, Iris, Cora, Selena, Thalia, and hundreds more.

I enjoy H. L. Mencken’s 1922, funeral oration for dead gods, “Memorial Service,” in which he lists names of many gods now gone. He ends with, “You may think I spoof. That I invent the names. I do not. Ask the rector to lend you any good treatise on comparative religion: You will find them all listed. They were gods of the highest standing and dignity – gods of civilized peoples – worshiped and believed in by millions. All were theoretically omnipotent, omniscient, and immortal. And all are dead.”

None of those gods ever actually existed. The author of the referenced Christian article would almost certainly agree with Mencken and me, with one exception. The one God and religion they were luckily born into and taught about. Lucky them.

I see the Sun. I get it. It’s there every day. We need it to survive. It preceded us and probably contributed to human and nature’s existence. Why not retro that old god? It’s nothing new. What is a solar system without a Sun?



Essay: Prayer is Weird

It’s really weird. Because I don’t believe in any spiritual things like gods, angels, saints, or demons (except the human sort), I stopped praying on my own years ago.

When well-meaning people say they will pray for me, I try to respectfully decline, although they never ask if I would mind, or if they may pray. It is kind of like I have no choice.

It’s not that I fear any form of harm. I’m atheist. If you want me to respect your beliefs, please reciprocate. If someone prays for me, it’s fine. But it is no favor to me. Except, I always need fodder for this blog. I know I’m pissing into the wind, but I am simply writing about how I am affected by living in a mostly believing, religious community.

The weird part of prayer is that I do usually pray when asked. I also have changed tires for strangers, hung pictures for friends, mowed lawns for neighbors, fixed boxes for cats, and (rarely) given advise when asked. The latter things all require greater effort (and get better results) than the former (praying). But I pray when asked or to keep from being a jerk (usually). Here is an excellent article on the subject.

I have held hands or waited patiently to eat while someone thanked God for everything from creation of the universe to the traffic being light on the highway, to “this fried chicken and gravy that God hath blessed us with,” as the cook bows his or her head and grits their teeth.

Recently, a retired nurse told me that pain was “a gift from God.” In my 60+ years of religion and a prayerful life (albeit, spotty), I cannot recall a single time when anyone thanked God for pain. Not for their agony or that of any of their loved ones. Good grief. Ungrateful bastards! (sarcasm) Who wants a medical provider who thinks your pain is a gift from God? (seriously)

When we were in a thunderstorm 40,000 feet above the Marianas Trench, we all thought we might crash and die that night; however, not one of our B-52 crew of seven prayed. At least four of us were quite religious. We all tightened our ejection seat and parachute straps and did our jobs, which was probably why we did not crash.

I can mentally do a flash prayer in seconds. Some call them “ejaculation” (or ejaculatory) prayers (I still giggle). I was Catholic, not Southern Baptist or Evangelical, who clearly struggle to ejaculate quickly (sarcastic humor).

If a friend asks me to pray for something reasonable, I almost always do. But I’m greedy. I’ll only pray for me to win the lottery unless we have a deal.

My views on prayer may seem hypocritical. Others may see an irreconcilable conflict if an atheist prays. I don’t care. I prayed for some sixty years with no harm (or results) to me or anyone. I am atheist. I can do what I want. We have no rules.

It does not mean I believe in any god. It does mean that I like and respect some people. It shows that I care enough about them to honor their request to petition a deity (existing or not) to help them. My atheism is about gods or spirits (other than human).

Religion is a whole other donnybrook. But feel free to ask for an ejaculatory prayer. I will most likely accommodate.

I recognize that most people disregard my request to do something besides pray for me. I don’t ever know if they actually prayed. But I must ask, who is respecting whom? And why is that?



Wasted Effort: Deadly Attitude

I read about Iraan (1,200 pop., pronounced Ira-Ann), a town in far west Texas oil country that has been devastated by COVID. It focused on a man named Sammy and town residents who prayed for him and their little town.

Sammy was hospitalized on a Thursday in the town’s small 14-bed rural clinic with no ICU or any means to care for COVID patients, despite a horrendous infection rate. The following Saturday, after days of prayers for an open ICU bed, he was airlifted to San Angelo, where he died after five days of ICU treatment. An interview was posted by CNN.

Many people prayed. Some residents seemed to dance around and cry and waive their arms in the air praying. Is that better praying? Few town residents wore masks that I could tell, but some wore the blue surgical type.

People who prayed seemed especially enthusiastic when on camera (God watches CNN, right?). The line of trucks and cars with people in them sat quietly, ostensibly also praying, but also social distancing just in case the gathering was a bad idea.

Then after a week of praying, this was posted: “Thank you to everyone who prayed… Sammy is with Jesus,” He died.

I know of no thanks given to anyone else. The human effort expended to help Sammy was apparently not acknowledged, but if you prayed in a failed effort, you were at least thanked. I would like to think everyone who tried to save the man was thanked, even if they did not pray, even if they were atheists.

No mention was made of more town folks masking up. No mention of getting vaccinated (the county, Pecos, is 54%, which is good for that area). Just praying. Lots of prayers. Numbers seem to count with prayer, so more is better. Sometimes loudness, waving hands in the air, and dancing also matter.

I found this comment clearly flagged in bright big blue letters on the Iraan clinic’s web page: “We have a sufficient supply of Moderna COVID-19 vaccine available. Please call our Rural Health Clinic @ 432-639-XXXX or (name deleted), RN, CNO @ 432-639-XXXX with eligibility questions or to schedule your appointment today!” I don’t know the town’s vax rate.

Did Sammy wear a mask? Was he vaccinated, or did he and his wife decide to let go and let God? I don’t care why not. Did Sammy die because of an attitude?

My daughter and grandson live in/near a small, but larger, west Texas town about 150 miles from Iraan. I’ve been there many times. My wife grew up living in several such towns. The COVID vax rate in my daughter’s west Texas county is 32%. Few, if any, folks wear any kind of mask. Those who do risk harassment. I know the mentality. I don’t like it, but the virus doesn’t care. I would expect the infection and death rates to be higher than I can find. But who knows?

I do not expect people to stop praying, getting sick, or dying. No one will change their faith because of anything I say or do. I hope the situation in the town and death of a popular man entice more folks to do all they can to be safe. If they must pray and they want to think it works, fine.

But as my father used to tell me, “God helps them that helps themselves.” And if you expect God to make you a lottery winner, you must still buy, find, or steal a ticket. What we do matters, God or no god. Prayers or not.


Nones and Don’ts

I read a post on Patheos.com regarding the “collapse” of Christianity in the USA. The statistics and argument are based on opinion research. It wouldn’t surprise me if more people are jumping from or ignoring the Christian bandwagon. Evangelical PR has been abysmal. Now the US Catholic Bishops are making fools of themselves (again) over Biden taking communion.

According to the research and claims of the piece, millennials are largely responsible for the significant downturn in churchgoers and New Testament thumpers. I don’t know if it plays into this, but separation of church and state is always an issue and calls for such freedom may also be growing. It’s funny how we can say that separate church and state trope and we hear, “Freedom of Religion.” (Congress shall make no laws…, etc. Why do they only see half of that?)

When I came out with my own atheism, I learned that for some statistical purposes, I was and am a none. When asked which religion I am/practice/prefer/want to be part of, I have marked “none,” when that option was available.

When hospital staff called me a few years ago to ask if I wanted to change none, I told the lady to “keep those people away from me.” I may have I hurt her feelings, but she asked. Neither atheism nor agnosticism are religions. Rightfully, they are not usually on the religious preference forms. But guess what?

Now I can change that. I discovered the following options are now listed by my hospital under the personal information category of religion: “Agnostic, Atheist, Declined, None, Other, and Unknown.” That last one is a head scratcher. Do they not know?

If I change my answer to Atheist, it will be listed that under “religion” on my personal information. It is not a religion. I’m staying with none for now. But I’m thinking about changing it.

I saw few new religious movements (NRMs) or new age religious beliefs listed. I also read that many main line Christians hold such new age beliefs. Interesting. That is probably woo-woo in the eyes of organized religion leadership, but many folks go for it.

The article on the decline of practicing US Christians and the survey introduced me to a new category: the Don’ts. These are people who don’t know, don’t care, or don’t believe god exists. They just don’t. I don’t.

I now have a new statistical category to join (hear my sarcastic laugh). I recognize two of the subcategories (don’t know and don’t believe), but I chuckled at the don’t care group. I’ve never considered them. I might be a Don’t in all three subcategories. Sort of like that old joke about nuns (as in the religious orders), “Ain’t had none, don’t want none, ain’t gunna get none” (or something like that).

I have a suggestion for a new category: the whatever’s. Just for teenagers.


Essay: Casting the First Stone

Archbishop José H. Gomez, of Los Angeles, President of the American Bishops, and most of that organized crime mob can kiss my atheistic arse.

I was born, baptized, and raised Roman Catholic. I secretly stopped going to Mass around age 14. I was never convinced that eating meat on Friday was a sin, that masturbating was a sin, that having “dirty” or sexual thoughts was a sin, or that most of what I told priests in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (aka Confession) was even a problem, much less grounds for eternal punishment in Hell.

Later in life I made two attempts to get and stay back with the Church. The last time was a 12-year stint. I ended up as Parish Council President of a large Parish near San Antonio, TX. At the time it was the domain of Bishop Gomez, in my opinion a personally pompous jack ass and snob who I met one time.

My departure from that parish was due to a job change and interstate relocation. Timing was such that it was also the beginning of my final walk out of the Church. I contend that my atheism is due to a variety of my personal conclusions and the absence of any evidence for the existence of any god.

The hypocrisy of virtually any religion or its constituents are not why I don’t believe in god. I am not atheist because I think all Christianity is nonsense. I do, but god and religion are two separate things.

I was born about 20 miles south of Scranton, PA, where, about four years earlier, Joe Biden was born. He was also raised Catholic. He still is. He’s a good Catholic. He follows the rules. He is personally opposed to abortion, as am I; maybe for different reasons, but I doubt it. He participates in and receives all eligible Sacraments. I do not.

In fact, I am technically, and happily, excommunicated from the Catholic Church. I am forbidden from all Sacraments except Reconciliation which would be necessary for me to get back on the team. Above all, I may not receive the Sacrament of Eucharist. I agree with that rule.

I think claiming that the consecrated Eucharist is the body and blood of a man, who was also the son of God, who died and rose from being dead over two thousand years ago is bull shit. I do not believe any of it. Joe Biden believes it.

But, as almost anyone can, I could go to Mass and receive that sacrament along with all the folks there. Who knows me? Furthermore, I could do it openly by going to confession, renouncing my disbelief (lie), telling a bunch of sins (true or not), and doing some sort of quickie penance, like reciting a few prayers. No one would ask if I supported the USA’s position on abortion. Nor would they ask me if I had raped any children, if I was a pedophile, or if I believed in Hell.

Joe Biden is the duly elected (GOP delusions notwithstanding) President of the USA and a Democrat. As such he supports a woman’s right to make choices. Not every Democrat or Catholic politician does; the current Governor of Louisiana, for example. Joe does not support laws forbidding a woman’s, or her doctor’s, decision to abort a pregnancy under certain circumstances. I repeat: Joe is personally opposed to abortion.

As a Catholic, Joe believes…in God, in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, who … for our salvation came down from heaven: and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate he was born of the Virgin Mary and became man.

He believes that Jesus …was crucified suffered, died, and was buried and rose again in fulfilment of the Scriptures, ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father. Joe believes that Jesus Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (including bishops and presidents), and that kingdom will never end.

Joe believes in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life. He believes in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. He acknowledges one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. He looks for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.

All that is quoted or paraphrased from the Nicene Creed Profession of Faith, which is what every catholic is supposed to profess to believe. Joes does that. A bumper sticker that says Biden is not Catholic is bumper sticker. Bishops and Priests often play God (literally at times), but if there is a god, they must be in deep shit with him or her.

Enter Archbishop Gomez and his organized mob of crime boss ass holes. Enter the Catholic Church’s total disregard (if not antipathy) for democracy and the separation of church and state.

Enter two-thousand years of lies and hypocrisy on a scale so great it is hard to believe it still exists: The Roman Catholic Church and its leadership.

While not all Bishops oppose Biden, or any Catholic politician who supports a woman’s right to choose, receiving communion, this new comment by the conservative bishops simply formalizes and officially allows the denial, which has previously happened. Priests and Bishops are permitted to disallow sacraments. But oh, what a tangled web that might be. And Biden’s local Bishop in the Washington Diocese is one who would not deny (nor would the Pope). For Joe, it is a minor deal. No Catholic has ever suffered from not sucking in the wafer.

I will never completely stop people from trying to shove their religion down my throat. But, at least so far, I can say no. I tell them to fuck off. I can tell them to kiss my ass.

I no longer consider myself Catholic or a Christian in any religious sense of the word, practicing or not. Thank goodness.